Round Up The Rodeo Clowns: NAACP Official Calls For Rodeo Employees To Be Prosecuted For Hate Crime

futurememories_2268_871136468479px-Bull-Riding-SzmurloThere was a national controversy created recently when a rodeo clown, Tuffy Gessling, put together an act involving a President Barack Obama mask at the Missouri State Fair. The announcer reportedly called out “This bull’s going to get’cha, Obama! He’s gonna get’cha!” The reaction was fierce. Gessling was given a lifetime ban and the announcer, Mark Ficken, resigned. All clowns will now have to go through a “sensitivity training” course after the incident. However, The President of the Missouri Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Mary Radliff is calling for the prosecution of the key players for a hate crime. Radliff’s statements shows how broad this controversial crime has become and how it can now threaten free speech principles.

The criticism of this act is certainly understandable. It was stupid and disrespectful. However, some have questioned the need for the lifetime ban as opposed to an apology or being dismissed from this rodeo. I have seen presidents mocked and portrayed at many fairs and rodeos. I saw one fair where clowns chased around a guy in a Reagan mask during his presidency. I recall various events with people in Clinton masks. Presidents are public figures and people love to make fun of those in high places. I am not dismissing the fact that some have a deep hatred or racist view of the President. Clearly, many in the audience were hostile to Obama and loved the notion of his being chased by a bull. I am not sure what the sensitivity training will convey. Is it a lesson not to use presidents or politicians as clown-like characters. That has been done in circuses since ancient Rome. Is it not to use African-American celebrities?

We can disagree on what is the appropriate level of punishment. (I do feel that the display had an overtly political and disrespectful character that should be the subject of discipline). However, calling this a hate crime reaffirms the long-criticism of this criminal provision as a threat to free speech. As noted in a prior columns, free speech appears to be dying in the West with the increasing criminalization of speech under discrimination, hate, and blasphemy laws. To understand this threat to free speech, you need only read the interview with Ms. Radliff: “I think that a hate crime occurred,” Ratliff told KXNT Radio in Las Vegas Thursday. ”I think a hate crime occurs when you use a person’s race to depict who they are and to make degrading comments, gestures, et cetera, against them.”

So that is the crime now? Making degrading comments or gestures about a person’s race? That would criminalize a huge array of speech in the United States. In this case, Radliff objects to an act of being “disrespectful to our president, whether he be black, white, Hispanic, Latina.” She has called for the Justice Department and Secret Service to go after the rodeo clowns for their “discriminatory practices against our sitting African-American president.”

I fail to see the need to round up our rodeo clowns or criminalize parody. I do not like the use of actual people — whether presidents or not — in such acts because I feel it is mean-spirited and disrespectful. However it is not a crime. Moronic, yes but criminal, no. They are rodeo clowns which are by definition rather moronic.

What do you think? Should this be a crime? Do you believe a lifetime ban is appropriate for this type of display?

Source: CBS

152 thoughts on “Round Up The Rodeo Clowns: NAACP Official Calls For Rodeo Employees To Be Prosecuted For Hate Crime”

  1. Thiese comments have been very entertaining, sort of on the level of “Ancient Alines”. However, earlier this evening, and thanks to Drudge, I was able to access a series of videos, some very, very graphic, of the massacre in Cairo on Wednesday. And this blog wastes so much time about a weak burlesque at the Missouri State Fair. Btw, this was not my first rodeo. Over and out.

  2. Yes, there is great danger in taking your eye off the ball.

    Yet you persist, distracted by shiny objects.

  3. Gene,

    I’ve got one shot of cognac left that I’ve saved for the last 4 years, I’m thinking about invest in a bit more for troubled times. 🙂

  4. Gene H,

    There is a great danger for us all if the only place many of us have to run to is in the arms of Alex Jones/Infowars & the Rand Paul/Ted Crux.

    I/we are looking for the counter balance, but yet to have found it.

  5. Oky,

    I’m not sure what you’re going on about, but if you think I’m suddenly going to become a Libertarian or start pimping for Alex Jones because things are getting tougher, you’d be sorrily mistaken. I know we’re in trouble. I’ve been writing and warning about the dangers of encroaching fascism, legislative dysfunction, and the expanding unitary Executive since long before you got here and I’ve done so without relying upon yellow journalism or the political ideology of sociopathic romance writers.

  6. Gene H,

    The ship we’ve accidental both found ourselves on is the USSA Titanic.

    It’s got a Big F’ing hole in it.

    You/I can’t ignore it any longer & whats going on.

    Snap the F out out Man, the people on it don’t have the Ph’kin Time for your/my luxury!!!

    There’s a lot of heroes buried in Arlington, many of them their own guys voted to put them there!

    Where are you & your family & friends at?

    Ya, I get pushy sometimes, sorry, but I’ll take a stand. 😉

  7. Woosty=^..^ I’m a simmering cauldron of hostility and inappropriate social responses. It’s why I don’t comment on a lot of threads; I couldn’t do it and not be banned. 🙂

    Lol, perfect timing:

    Maddow is doing a story on Detroit’s art museum holdings being appraised for possible sale at the whim of Detroit’s king, er emergency manager. I can’t deal with it without Hulking out. I’ve got to go mollify myself with supper. Wish I had a pi, of any shape.

  8. Gene H,

    I respect your opinion.

    For what ever fluke of nature I’ve survived where many friends along the way have perished.

    Blissed or Luck I’m still here & I daily grab for the gusto. (Nerve damage. 🙂 )

    I remember back on more then one occasion finding myself in a car with young party goers to drunk to drive & I demanded to either drive or let me out & I’ll walk.

    And Walk I did often.

    In a large part I survived by knowing when to say when & get out & walk if necessary.

    And here I find myself again, the Demo/Repub parties are to drunk to drive.

    Let me out of the car I’d as soon walk!

    If you have a case I’d suggest you present it sometime soon.

    If not Rest!

    People are watching!

    And I’m interested.

  9. Bron,

    He either gets made fit for company or I’m taking him to North Korea with me.

  10. have a presidents day bull run. have guys in reagan, clinton, obama,and bush’s 1&2 masks get chased around by bulls.

    bet some of them good old boys won’t like ronnie getting chased around though.

    maybe ronnie could just wonder around sorta lost.

    and clinton could chase some cows

    bush 2 will be on vacation and cheney will take his place. be sure to take his gun first though, don’t want anyone in the crowd shot.

  11. hahahaha! I want some square pi! 🙂

    Gene H.
    1, August 16, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Much that in pursued in the law, but especially in the law as formulated by the Founders, is aspirational. Law will never be perfect. Justice will never be perfect. Politics will never be perfect. That should not stop the pursuit of the aspiration to perfection.
    Having had a very lengthy and absurd lesson in just that, I have duly chastised myself for over-estimating the Justice of the Law and now am much more careful with my ‘ideals’. That said, I have just grilled in doors for the first time ever and damn this is tasty chicken… ! [and i really do wish I had some pi….]

  12. I only take on feasible projects, not fool’s errands. Anyone who think Alex Jones is a reliable reputable journalist has fallen too far down the rabbit hole for the help I could give. I’m not that kind of doctor.

  13. Ozzie:

    why should Oky1 think in lockstep with you or Gene to be suitable for company?

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